Story Education

Governor Brown Signs CSU's Doctor of Nursing Practice Program into Law

Christianne Salvador



With Governor Brown's signing of Assembly Bill 422 into law, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) becomes a permanent program offered at CSU campuses.

Along with the Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Doctor of Audiology (AuD), the DNP is one of just four professional doctoral programs offered at the CSU.

The CSU DNP degree was first legislated as a pilot project offered at two CSU consortia involving five campuses: NorCal Consortium (Fresno and San José) and SoCal Consortium (Fullerton, Long Beach and Los Angeles).

After five years and nearly 300 successful graduates now working throughout the state, the DNP program has earned recognition as a quality educational program offering the highest level of instruction in nursing practice. The graduates are published in prestigious professional journals, have been recognized locally and at work settings for their innovative quality improvement projects, and are employed in faculty tenure track positions in 13 out of 19 CSU nursing campuses.

Granting the CSU full authority to offer the DNP degree was overwhelmingly supported by California Assembly and Senate representatives.

Increased need for advanced practice nurses

"The CSU is now securely positioned at the forefront of the DNP movement across the nation," said Dr. Margaret Brady, Nurse Faculty and Cal State Long Beach DNP Coordinator. "Advanced practice education at the doctoral level is where the future of nursing is going.  By offering a DNP degree, the CSU is committed to educating nursing leaders to serve at the highest levels in both healthcare and educational settings."

The need for advanced education at the doctoral level for nurse specialists is on the rise. Nurse anesthetist programs, for example, will be required to offer a doctoral degree as a mandatory certification prerequisite, a requirement that will be in effect across the U.S. starting early 2022.

Job availability for advanced practice nurses is expected to grow at a rapid rate of 31 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This job outlook is directly correlated to the persisting and troubling nursing shortage felt nationwide.

An ecosystem of faculty clinicians to address workforce shortage

In California alone, a shortage of 193,000 nurses is expected by 2030. As a major driver of the state's economy, the CSU's mission is to meet California's workforce demands and the DNP program is structured to bolster this goal.

Graduates of the DNP program are equipped with knowledge and the experience of working in healthcare settings and in the classroom.  Brady said the doctoral program regulates a nursing ecosystem on campus, aiming to bring back graduates as nursing faculty.

"Many DNP grads will go on to teach as full or part-time faculty in higher education," explains Brady. "As a teaching-based institution, the CSU's DNP program is preparing its graduate students to become functional experts in clinical settings - shaping them to become advocates and leaders as well as skilled clinicians."

To learn more about the CSU's Doctor of Nursing Practice program, visit